Sunday, May 23, 2010

Lives of the Great Composers: Igor Stravinsky Poses for His Mugshot

Here's the picture from when they busted Igor Stravinsky for his arrangement of the Star-Spangled Banner! (UPDATE: No it isn't. Click here for more info.) I guess his harmonization could be considered "irreverent"? But, C'MON. Hardly offensive:

Igor Stravinsky (arr.) - The Star-Spangled Banner

And in fact, listening to it again since I put this post up, it's not even that irreverent. That trumpet dissonance on "that our flag was still there" is, for instance, a little startling, but it serves the text—in any other arrangement, that line would swerve up to a G or down to an E to fit in with the C major chord, but instead it is STILL on that F when we get to the word STILL. Word painting! And the dominant seventh chord on "land of the free" is a surprise too, but cmon—it, and the other changes are just lovely. This recording is Stravinsky's own, available in that giant Sony boxset of Stravinsky conducting Stravinsky, which obviously all of you should buy. Buy it now. Are you buying it? Okay good.

Photo from Washington Musica Viva, via Boing Boing.

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